After decades when the core components of US and Saudi strategic policies were more or less in sync, the United States is suddenly not playing by the Saudi playbook. It won’t give the Syrian resistance a blank check; it is daring to consider softening its stance towards Iran; it has dared to criticise, however mildly, Bahrain’s crackdown on the country’s majority Shia population; and finally the Egyptian military‘s reassertion of its political primacy with the removal of President Mohamed Morsi this past summer.
Is the Muslim Brotherhood dying? In Egypt and throughout the Arab world, Brotherhood-affiliated parties are suffering an unprecedented series of setbacks that cast real doubt on the long-term viability of that version of Islamist politics.
The Middle East is caught in a seemingly endless spiral of instability. The likely American military intervention in Syria, together with the deteriorating situation in Egypt since President Mohammad Morsi’s ouster, which was organized by the Egyptian army, has placed the region on a razor’s edge.
Imagine a government dominated by paranoia, convinced of conspiracies around every corner. That, in short, was the most defining aspect of the Muslim Brotherhood’s year in power in Egypt. Though the country’s first democratically elected government was overthrown in a military coup in July, the Brotherhood made its fair share of critical mistakes.
More important in my view is the belief expressed by almost half a dozen activists in the course of a week of conversations that the revolutionary movement was never going to be able to defeat both the Brotherhood and the military in a struggle for Egypt’s future. And so to have the army hand such an epic defeat to the Brotherhood is a gift whose value is hard to overestimate – which is precisely why so many Leftists are loathe to turn it down, writes Mark LeVine.